ASIABUSINESSOPINION

EXPO 2017: Kazakhstan and the energy revolution

By Domenico Letizia

From June 10 to September 10, 2017, Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, will host EXPO 2017. The focus of the event will be an enhanced discussion on sustainable energy and on the development trends of renewable energy in the coming decades. Significant topics for the future of our planet, not only as environmental issues or as public health related problems, but also in relation to the economic and social development of the communities living on Earth. According to the organizers’ intentions, a serious debate among the various governments of the world is urgently needed, a debate that must take into consideration all the problems faced by the Developing Countries, particularly those related to the effects of climate change on local economies.

This year’s Universal Exposition in Astana is one of the key national projects for Kazakhstan. The main sponsor of such a big event has been the same President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose active support for the initiative, together with the international prestige of the Asian Country, let Astana win the vote to host EXPO 2017. Thanks to the personal involvement of the President, the project of the International Exhibition is developing quickly and successfully. During the last two years, after Astana was acknowledged as the host city of EXPO 2017, many things have been done: the National Society “Astana EXPO 2017” and the Registry File have been created; a law on the organization and the implementation of the event has been approved. The Exhibition has become a truly “national” project, which brings the whole Country together. As described by some analysts of Eurasian Business Dispatch, the main theme of EXPO 2017 is “The Energy of the Future”. It reveals the International Community’s concern for the growing impact of the energy issue on the planet. The main goal of the Exposition is a global call to responsibility, to encourage public debate and the creation of knowledge, as a way to help people learning how to plan and control energy consumption, in order to reduce the environmental damages to the minimum. Around two million people are expected to visit EXPO 2017, with the total number of tourists in the Capital estimated at around five million people: 85% of the total visitors should come from within Kazakhstan, and the remaining 15% from abroad, mainly from the CIS States and China. It is also expected a significant number of visitors from Europe, Turkey and the United States.

China, in particular, will have a preeminent role: “China has become Kazakhstan’s main economic partner, both in terms of Foreign Direct Investments, loans and joint ventures. We have solved the problem of energy cooperation: Chinese firms extract 25% of Kazakhstan’s oil. Now we have to face the issue of the renewal of the contracts. We will be very careful, because they are important partners”, the Kazakh President Nazarbayev recently stated, according to the Russian press agency Tass, adding also that Astana and Beijing have developed “ideal interstate relations”. The hope is that EXPO 2017 will help bolstering Kazakhstan’s international ties, strengthening the project of the “New Silk Road” through the promotion of commercial and development exchanges.

Sergey Nurtayev, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Italy, declared in a recent interview “after EXPO 2017, some international-capacity spaces and various corporate pavilions will remain available. In one of them, we are planning to open the International Centre for the development of green technologies, with the support of the United Nations. The President Nazarbayev has announced the idea during a meeting of the General Assembly. An international technological park for start-ups will be also set up, and it is intended to become a platform that will attract investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. The International Financial Centre will be situated in two pavilions, and its name will be ‘Astana’. Regarding the two remaining pavilions, we are considering the possibility of creating a multifunctional exhibition complex in one, and the modern Center for professional and educational orientation, in the other.”

Visiting EXPO 2017 and Astana will also represent a good occasion to discover Kazakhstan, a diversity-rich Country split between the yurts of the nomad tradition and the futuristic skyscrapers of the Capital. A Country that, in the near future, will become increasingly important in the international arena.

Domenico Letizia holds a Master’s Degree in Historical Sciences, and he is a Political Analyst of the Consorzio IEA Italia Europa Asia Export.

Translation by Mr. Fortunato Materazzo, a Political Analyst who holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations – Relations and Institutions of Asia and Africa.

Original source (in Italian): http://www.notiziegeopolitiche.net/expo-2017-il-kazakistan-e-la-rivoluzione-energetica/

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